The Ouachita Parish Lions’ Explosiveness and Big Play Ability Makes Team a Contender
by Jace LeJeune
The Ouachita Parish High School Lions, led by Head Coach Jeff Fitzgerald, have started off the season red hot with an impressive 5-1 record. A big reason for the team’s success is their senior skill playmakers most notably CJay Brown and Dylan Roberts. According to Louisiana Football Magazine’s recruiting specialist Lee Brecheen, both Brown and Roberts are two of the best in the Monroe area at their positions.
“Dylan Roberts is one of the best athletes in Monroe,” Brecheen said. “Roberts is super underrated and a DI player all the way. A reason that he is being under recruited is because he is undersized, but at the same time, he is not small. He is a big time playmaker with explosive speed. I believe he can be a great kickoff returner just like Kevontae Turpin (Neville/TCU).”
“CJay Brown is a phenomenal player,” Brecheen said. “Brown is a big receiver but he also has great speed. He is good enough to play at LSU and I think he will be a star wherever he ends up going.”
Right now, a lot of in state colleges have shown the same interest in Brown as Brecheen.
“My top schools are ULL, Grambling, and ULM,” Brown said. “I have received an offer from ULM and McNeese State.”
There may be even more offers coming Brown’s way coming soon. The 6-2, 198 pound wide receiver may not have a lot of catches over the last two seasons, but every time he touches the football, there is a good chance that he will be in the end zone. The stats speak for itself as over the last two years, Brown has had 27 catches for 815 yards with 10 of those catches going for touchdowns. The big plays are great, but what Brown prouds himself the most is his physicality.
“The biggest strength to my game is being able to block when there is a running play,” Brown said.
Just like Brown, the rest of the team takes on the same old school mentality. Seniors Jaquez Jackson and Johnathon Williams are the best examples of having that mentality on the defensive side of the football. Up front, Jackson is the best player on the defensive line. At 6-2, 283 pounds, Jackson is hard to block because of his size, quickness, and ability to rush the passer. Already, he has five sacks on the season. Even though Jackson has been c
ontacted by colleges, which include receiving offers from McNeese State, ULM, Northwestern State, Arkansas Monticello, and Kansas State, he is still trying to prove himself each and every play.
“I am someone who does not give up,” Jackson said. “I am someone who works extremely hard and will not fail you in the classroom.”
Somebody that will not fail the defense in the backhand is Williams. Williams may not have the offers like some of his other teammates, but this is a player that does not think of the consequences and just goes out to play the game. At 5-11, 175 pounds, Williams may not be the most opposing, but he is not afraid to go across the middle of the field and make the big hit. Even though Williams is a defensive back, he takes on the linebacker mentality especially since one of his relatives was a linebacker in the NFL.
“I am related to Bradie James, who played with LSU and the Dallas Cowboys,” Williams said. “I think that is why I hit hard as a safety. The biggest area of strength to my game is my physical play and just to fight the good fight. Like Kavontae Turpin said, it is not the size of the dog, it is the size of the fight in the dog.”
For Williams, there is a lot of fight in him. According to Brecheen, the Lions have a loaded senior roster that features talented players like Williams who have not received many offers at this point, but have a chance at the end of the year to play at some level in college.
“WR LaMark McFee (6-3, 175), LB Dakevion Woods (5-10, 210), LB Brendan Hardy (6-1, 219), DB Tony McNeal (6-0, 182), CB DaTavion Kerry (5-10, 170), and WR Terrance Logwood (5-11, 162) all have a chance to play at either the DI, I-AA, D-II, or D-III level when it is all said and done,” Brecheen said.
In speaking of when it is all said and done, both Williams and Brown think that this team can be in the Super Dome when it is all said and done.
“It has been an impressive run, but for us to keep it going, we have to keep playing Ouachita Lions football,” Williams said. “We need this kind of momentum heading into the playoffs going forward. It will be a big boost for our program and our power rankings in the playoff bracket.”
“Being 5-1 for the first time since 2011 says a lot about this year’s football team especially with us being a large senior class,” Brown said. “We just gotta keep up the intensity on defense. Coach Fitz preaches it everyday at practice, but another reason is our offense. Once we get going, it is going to be a long night for the other team. This is a special football team and I honestly believe we have a shot at winning a ring this year!”
With the mix of talent, confidence, and senior leadership, why not the Ouachita Parish Lions as a team to be a contender once the Class 5A playoffs come up.
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